Executive Authority

Executive Authority

[It is important] ...to confine themselves within their respective constitutional spheres, avoiding in the exercise of the powers of one department to encroach upon another. The spirit of encroachment tends to consolidate the powers of all the departments in one, and thus to create, whatever the form of government, a real despotism
— George Washington

My goals:

  • Reign in executive powers
  • Re-establish legislative authority

The Founding Fathers intended for Congress to be the most powerful branch of the United States government. After all, a legislative body, representative of the will of the people, was at the core of democracy, and an excessively powerful President would be too close to a monarch. The Founding Fathers feared a monarchy, so they limited the powers of the President as much as possible.

The President's powers were very straightforward:

  • to faithfully execute the nation's laws, as determined by Congress.
  • to form treaties and appoint officers and ambassadors with the advice and consent of the Senate.
  • to pardon federal crimes.
  • to command the military.

Since around World War II, however, the United States has been in a near-constant state of conflict, and the President has accumulated more and more power in order to be in a better position to deal with the various threats facing the nation. The President picks and chooses which laws to enforce and how to interpret those laws. He also has a lot of influence over how the federal budget is allocated, the ability to enter into extended armed conflicts without consent from Congress, and effectively the ability to self-legislate due to excessively broad discretionary powers and the powers of executive orders.

When a liberal President is in office, conservatives complain about executive overreach, and when a conservative President is in office, liberals complain about executive overreach. Meanwhile, Congress is losing its power both to represent the American people effectively and to act as a check on the executive branch. It's time for Congress to reign in the powers of the President and to once again resume responsibility for the country.

I will fight to restore the power of Congress, regardless of whether we have a conservative or a liberal President. This is something we need to do in order to preserve our democracy.